03 April 2007

Bring Back the Draft (BR)
You heard me.

White House counsel Dan Bartlett made a really fascinating statement to Bob Schieffer of CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday morning. Asked by Schieffer about the departure of President Bush's political strategist Matthew Dowd, -- more specifically, about his bombshell interview in The New York Times in which he declared, among other things, "Kerry was right" -- Bartlett, in so many words, dismissed his "close friend" Dowd as a kindly but frazzled lunatic, driven into the waiting arms of liberal appeasers by (get this) the emotional toll of his son's imminent deployment to Iraq:
Schieffer: "Are you suggesting he's having some kind of personal problems and this is just what has resulted?"

Bartlett: "No, I think as expressed in the paper that he, himself has acknowledged that he's going through a lot of personal turmoil, but also he has a son who is soon to be deployed to Iraq. That can only impact a parent's mind as they think through these issues."
Yes, says Bartlett, He's so crazy that he identifies with Democrats! Lurking within Bartlett's hypocritical diplomacy is a full wind-up followed by a punch in the gut to anyone with a loved one serving in the military, particularly those military families who now oppose the war and this president. It is an attack on the credibility and competence of people for whom the "personal turmoil" of worrying day and night about a spouse, child or parent in uniform has grown to outweigh whatever pride accompanied the sacrifice when the military mission still had airs of legitimacy and importance to the nation's security. In short: If you oppose the war, the stress of your situation has overcome you; maybe you should lie down until it's over, and let the men in charge do their jobs.

What Bartlett illuminates without meaning to is the acute misery which must certainly dog Mr. Dowd, as the war that he helped plan and pitch to the American people, which has claimed the lives of over 3,200 American soldiers, decimated our military's readiness to respond to future attacks, hampered our ability to combat terrorism at home and around the globe, trapped the armed forces in the middle of sectarian guerilla conflict, now threatens very real consequences to himself and his family. That, as they say in the streets, is a bitch. But an instructive one.

If the sons and daughters of all federal elected officials and cabinet-level appointed staff were conscripted by law into the United States military for a period of five years beginning at the age of 18, America would never again enter into foolish wars of choice such as Vietnam and both Iraq conflicts. Those who decided to enter national politics would quite literally be committing flesh and blood to the welfare and protection of our nation.

Were such a law passed, it would apply equally to newly-elected and subsequently re-elected officials. I know of nothing in the Constitution that would prohibit such a requirement of public servants.

The decision to run for high office in this country is already a matter that is deliberated thoroughly by the families of prospective candidates, and the matter of the children's mandatory military service as a condition of holding the office would be just another issue. But the sensitivities of the individual congressmen are of less interest to me than the knowledge that any decision to go to war will be made by a Congress that has, personally, a lot to lose.

Would the Supreme Court hold up such a law if passed? Would the idea have more traction as a Constitutional amendment now that the public has had it with the war? What would be an effective political argument against such a law? Wouldn't any congressperson, either out of patriotism or cynicism, want to be on record as supporting such a measure?

This is no hit piece on our public officials, among whom there still exist some honorable men and women. We as a nation would benefit from the draft in this form, as the result would be a less stratified society, and a more common politics. It cannot be accurately said that America's government governs at all. America is managed by a political class, which has neatly segregated itself from the electorate. If it requires legislating uncomfortable provisos into our lawmakers' job descriptions before they acted right on our behalf, so be it.

The American people sense, correctly, that the political class in our country pays a disproportionately small slice of the total cost of war, and are probably also right on in their perception that this fact is somehow connected to our nation's monumentally stupid foreign policy. If there's one single measure that would fend off the creeping oligarchy in the United States, it's the codified demand that those who send our country to war send their children to fight and die.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Craig said...

similarly... How can the board that regulates the MTA know what they're talking about without riding it?

How do city planners decide what's best without living in certain neighborhoods? Not that a city planner should HAVE to live in the neighborhood, but they seem to act without even asking for the input of certain neighborhoods...

4/03/2007 3:12 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

I quite agree.

Cowards like Chimpy and Shooter have created in their wake an entitlement class of people who think that (1) they shouldn't have to serve their country, and (2) shouldn't even have to PAY for this glorious war that they all insist is so important.

I'm telling you-I'd slap a tax on a gallon of gas big enough to cover its costs. Peaceniks in Yukons and Explorers would proliferate faster than cousins in a Warren Jeffs camp.

4/04/2007 2:26 PM  
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